My husband and I attended the French Quarter Festival in New Orleans this weekend. Several years ago we accidentally happened to be in New Orleans during this festival and really enjoyed it. So this year we jumped at the chance to be there during two of the four day festival.
The French Quarter Festival is a free event staffed by volunteers. The 22 stages set up along the Mississippi River and throughout the French Quarter have different performers scheduled about ever hour and are sponsored by different corporations. There were all kinds of music and it was fun to wander from stage to stage listening to a variety of musicians. There was great food and drinks from local restaurants for sale near the performance stages. The streets and Jackson Square were full of the street performers who always make the French Quarters a fun and unique place to visit.
We stayed at the Riverside Hilton which turned out to be a good choice. The first stage was close by in the plaza in front of the Aquarium. We were able to stay a few hours at the festival and then return to the hotel to take a break.
My husband and I also enjoyed the fireworks on Saturday night. Listening to music, watching the huge boats go by on the Mississippi River, and sampling some of New Orleans’s great food made a spectacular ending to a really fun, beautiful, sunny, and breezy day. We would like to do it again next year!
Some advice for next year’s festivalgoers:
Bring lots of cash. The music is free but the food and drinks are rather pricey. Visitors are not allowed to bring ice chests.
Bring fold-up chairs or a blanket. There are benches and steps in some areas to sit on but you have to be pretty lucky to get one.
Use the festival website (www.fqfi.org/frenchquarterfest/). It has good information and provides the schedule of bands.
Saturday is really crowded. You might enjoy Friday more if big crowds are not your thing.